Skoda has all but ruled out a return for the Skoda Fabia RS hot hatchback – and the chances of an all-electric Fabia are even slimmer, at least on its current architecture.
Speaking after the Czech brand's 'Next Level' strategy announcement overnight, Skoda CEO Thomas Schäfer told media that an industry shift towards electric vehicles makes a business case for a new Fabia RS performance city car hard to build.
"We'll see if we still can calculate this model in that space. I know, I love it too, but it gets more and more difficult to calculate it and justify the investment," the executive said.
While Skoda's long-running Octavia RS was recently renewed for another generation – bolstered by recently-facelifted Kodiaq RS and all-electric Enyaq iV RS models – Skoda hasn't offered a go-fast RS version of the Fabia since 2013, which was powered by a 132kW/250Nm 1.4-litre 'twin-charged' four-cylinder with a six-speed dual-clutch auto.
Above: The last Skoda Fabia RS, last offered in 2013. Top of story: 2022 Skoda Fabia RS render, by independent artist X-Tomi Design.
A modern fourth-generation equivalent, meanwhile, would likely share its running gear with its twin under the skin, the Volkswagen Polo GTI, which recently saw an update to a 152kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox – good for a 6.5-second 0-100km/h dash.
However, the aforementioned electric-vehicle (EV) push doesn't translate to the arrival of an all-electric Fabia – instead, the focus of the new model's MQB-A0 architecture means any electric Skoda city car would ride on the dedicated MEB EV platform, and therefore eschew the Fabia nameplate.
"No. I would say this is not economically feasible to do that," said Schäfer. "MQB A0 [and] MQB technology were designed for ICE (internal combustion engines), [they're] specifically powerful in this space. We see that with the MEB platform .... we have a strong [EV] platform that is now scalable.
Above: Skoda's first MEB-based model, the Enyaq iV. Bottom of story: The new Skoda Fabia, in standard guise.
"We don't need to electrify an old ICE platform. That is never ideal," he added.
Skoda has promised to launch "at least" three electric vehicles by 2030 – one of which is expected to be an 'affordable' city car priced from around €20,000 (AU$31,000), or on par with a mid-level version of the outgoing Fabia city car.
Twinned with similar models from Germany's Volkswagen and Spain's Seat, it's expected all models will be based on a new MEB-Lite platform – a cost-focused version of the current MEB architecture, designed for smaller, cheaper cars – with a 45kWh battery delivering around 200-250km of range.
Whether Skoda's new electric vehicles will come to Australia isn't clear, as Skoda Australia claims a lack of emissions regulations sees low-emissions vehicles prioritised for other markets, allowing Australia to fall down the list.